An elderly woman died in a fire on Sunday night after her children made a stove fire but then left to drink beer at neighbouring houses.
The incident took place around 9pm in Snay Proem village, Angkor Reach commune, Preah Sdech district in Prey Veng province.
District police chief Chey Sengheang on Monday identified the woman as Eang Saut, 86. He said the fire caught her stilted house and she was unable to flee.
Her daughter said her zinc-roofed house was made of wood and the woman was not able to walk. The daughter said she earned a living to provide for her mother and her husband.
On the night of the incident, she made the fire to cook rice and took her husband to drink beer at neighbouring houses. She left her mother alone at home.
Sengheang said that a few moments later, the fire was seen sweeping the house. Villagers had also gathered to extinguish the fire.
“The house had a pile of rice straw underneath it. So the fire burned very strongly and got out of control. I always tell [villagers] not to have a pile of rice straw. But some don’t listen,” he said.
Neighbours, Sengheang said, told the police the victim’s daughter and her husband are alcoholics and on the night of the incident, they left the stove under fire.
He said after the incident, police arrived at the scene to examine it just in case someone had carried out an arson attack. But having investigated, specialists confirmed that the house was burned by the stove fire and not from something else.
He said because the family is poverty-stricken, the district authority helped them with milled rice and some materials to organise a funeral for the woman. Monks also helped the family with some materials.